Polish climber recalled by Caragh neighbour

Tomasz Mackiewicz remembered

Conor McHugh

Reporter:

Conor McHugh

Email:

conor.mchugh@leinsterleader.ie

Polish climber recalled by Caragh neighbour

Tomasz Mackiewicz and his climbing partner Elisabeth Revol in happier times

The Polish mountain climber, whose death in recent days made headlines all around the world, lived on the outskirts of Caragh with his partner and was well liked by neighbours.

Local man Billy Byrne recalled that Tomasz Mackiewicz and his partner lived in Gingerstown, near Raheens GAA club and that he worked as a panel beater.

“He did some fine work on my Dad’s car,” Billy explained.

“He was our neighbour and lived there with his partner and child.

“He was in my home before Christmas having tea and telling me about his trip to climb the famous mountain.

“It’s so very sad.”

Mr Byrne described the deceased man and his partner as “very friendly people” and added that he would “hate to think she feels alone in the parish” following the terrible tragedy.

Tomasz “Czapa” Mackiewicz was climbing Nanga Parbat, a particularly difficult mountain in Pakistan with a French woman, Elisabeth Revol, on Thursday, January 26 when he became incapacitated through snowblindness and suffered serious frostbite.

They were at an altitude of more than 7,500m, when freezing temperatures left them stranded.

Ms Revon has told the French media that her companion said that he couldn’t see and when he took off his mask his eyes were severely inflamed.

He was also struggling to breathe and clung to her shoulder as they continued to descend.

“He took off the protection he had in front of his mouth and he began to freeze. His nose became white and then his hands, his feet,’” she said.

The pair huddled together in a crevice that night. However Mr Mackiewicz’s condition continued to worsen overnight.

Communicating by satellite phone, Ms Revol was instructed to descend to rescuers that were on their way to her.

She suffered vivid hallucinations on the way down.

Having reached her, Polish rescuers tried to make their way as far as him, but were forced to turn back due to harsh weather conditions.

As it stands now, he is presumed dead. Ms Revol is in France where doctors are considering amputating some of her frostbitten limbs.

A GoFundMe appeal in Mr Mackiewicz’s name has reached an incredible €157,000.

Mr Mackiewicz is well known in his native Poland where Himalayan mountain climbing has a following.

He was notable for having had a difficult upbringing and managed to beat a drug addiction in his early years.